Category Archives: Uncategorized

Excel is Your Friend

If you follow my twitter stream at all, you know that I am an advocate of Excel. Why? Because it’s simply more efficient and versatile than Word charts and indexes. Yes, I know that Word will allow you to sort data, but beyond that, manipulation of your information is limited.

A couple of weeks ago, I inherited an index of documents that totaled 40 pages – in Word. That wouldn’t have been a problem if I were only searching for a particular document where a simple word find would have sufficed, but it was not.  Continue reading

What Paralegals (And Attorneys) Wish Attorneys Knew

Several week ago I read What Do Attorneys Wish Their Paralegals Knew and felt inspired to provide a response.

As I was reading the attorney wish list for their paralegals, a flurry of things I wish attorneys knew came into my head.  Instead of me producing a diatribe of my own wishes and wants, I thought it would be more educational to poll several paralegals in different fields and in different stages of their careers.  Here, my dear friends, are the things that paralegals wish attorneys knew: Continue reading

Don’t Like the Rule? Follow the Rule.

Statistically speaking, we were all children once, and 99.9% of us had curfews.  You probably hated the fact that your parents mandated you be home by 10:00 p.m. (or whatever seemingly arbitrary time they picked).  My dad was in law enforcement for 20+ years, so I heard all the horror stories of a girl being out 30 minutes past curfew, getting in a car accident, and dying. Or the girl who was out too late, got kidnapped, and ended up in a ditch. As a result, I was thoroughly terrified to not be exactly where I said I was going to be because, worst case scenario, they could find me if I went missing.   By the time I was a junior in high school, however, I was allowed to set my own curfew. Because I had always followed the rules, I was awarded the ability to become part of the rule-making process. Continue reading

Paralegals & Social Media

A bevy of articles have been written about lawyers participating in social media, the effectiveness of law blogs, and the usefulness of twitter.  What I see missing from those articles is a frank discussion of utilizing your paralegals in your firm’s social media policy.

The best lawyer in the world won’t be great without qualified, competent staff. Why not show your potential clients, co-counsel, opposing counsel, the entire legal community that not only are you qualified, but that your staff is, too? Continue reading

Tell Me What You Want

You have a deadline looming. You have a million things to get done. Your “to do” list is longer than your arm, and there’s no way you can get it done in time.  What do you do?  You dish out work to the underlings (and sometimes not underlings).  Hopefully you work with competent people who can get any job done for you.  So you hand them a project, give a little explanation, and walk away.

In a perfect world, you get to stop thinking about that project, trust your staff, and get back to other things.  Continue reading

Love the One You’re With

When in doubt, love the one you’re with. And if that doesn’t work, hire someone you like.

We all have to work with people.  Even solos (in any industry) have clients.  Someone is paying you to do something for them.  That is how we make money. I need not give an economics lesson here.  The point is simply this: life is too short to work with people who annoy you and make your job difficult. Continue reading

Listen from the bottom up

In the grand scheme of things, I am simply a lowly paralegal. As far as law firm hierarchy is concerned, I’m near the bottom.  Historically, those at the bottom do more of the grunt work. We work more closely with the hardware and software inside the firm.

Sure, today’s attorneys are more hands-on with their work product. You don’t see too many young attorneys dictating their letters, motions, pleadings, discovery, etc. – they are generally comfortable enough to type things up themselves.  They are also more comfortable with the internet and web-based programs than their older counterparts.  However, in the day-to-day existence of the firm, paralegals, legal secretaries, and other staff do most of the leg work.  Continue reading

Getting on the Same Page: Creating Consistency

Everyone has their own style of working.  Some attorney/paralegal partnerships are better than most marriages, and some are worse than exploratory oral surgery.  Why? Because we all have a certain way of doing things.  Sometimes you mesh, sometimes you clash.

The problem with everyone doing their own thing inside a law firm is lack of consistency.  For example, if I step into a case that I haven’t worked on ever before, I should be able to find things.  If someone grabs any of my case files (or looks at them in the system, really), they should be able to find anything and everything they need.  Sometimes, that just doesn’t happen.  Let me illustrate: Continue reading

Lawyers, Utilize your Tools – Software

Shocking news: the legal profession is filled with Luddites.  There are firms that still use WordPerfect.

Hold on. Soak in that news.

WordPerfect. That’s right.

Now that you’ve been thoroughly shocked, let me move on to the point of this post.  Knowledge of the firm’s software, including Office, is directly proportional to productivity. Continue reading